Hickory Hops Festival, 2010

This past Saturday Eliza and I went up to Hickory, NC for the Hickory Hops Annual Brew Festival.  Untamed Beer‘s Brian had kindly given us tickets to the festival and so we left Greenville in the late morning and headed northward.

Hickory, NC is about two hours away from Greenville, so it isn’t all that bad a drive.  Saturday was a lovely day, mostly sunny with a few scattered clouds and a nice breeze.  Really it was the perfect weather to spend the day outdoors enjoying some delicious craft brews.

The town of Hickory is a quiet little place with a main street of storefronts and a whole lot of furniture stores (Eliza tells me it is like the furniture capital of the South East).  The brew festival was held on the main downtown green area which was between the downtown main street and an old train rail.  Many an awning and tent were set up to host the various breweries at the festival.  Between the tents and the several large trees on the green, there was a good bit of shade to keep us cool from the hot mid-afternoon sun.

Lots of breweries were present at the festival and there were plenty of enjoyable beers to try.  Most of the breweries were from the South East which further made the festival have a very regional feel to it.  Brian and his wife Nicole were working at the Thomas Creek stand serving up beer from Greenville’s local brewery.  The Thomas Creek stand was right near where we entered the festival and so Eliza and I checked in with Brian and Nicole for some good advice for beers to definitely try.

They gave some.

One was a limited cask beer of a Jalapeño Lager by Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (I think, we’ll somebody check me on this?).  This was a fantastic beer, with a clean crisp feel and a distinctive Jalapeño flavor though without a spicy kick.  Really it was just wonderful.

The other place that Brian and Nicole recommended that we try was Ham’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.  So glad we did.  Ham’s had three beers present and we tried all of them.  I will say this for Mr. Adkisson, Ham’s Brewer; he really knows how to use his hops.  They had an India Brown Ale, a Pale Ale, and a Hoppy Lager and all three were delightful beers.  Definitely some of my favorite beers at the festival.

Throughout the afternoon we walked about trying various beers, watching some of the more interesting attendees as they became increasingly inebriated and just having a grand old time.  I loved that the festival was outside as indoor beer festivals strike me as being a little more like a trade show.  I also liked that the Hickory Hops Festival allowed re-entrance so that we could go out and get some food and just sit and relax for  bit between drinking sessions.

All and all it proved to be a great day.  We headed back south to Greenville in the early evening feeling happy with the way we spent our day.

Oh, and as a beer related side note.  I bottled up (with help from Eliza) my Belgian Dubbel on Friday evening.  I am terribly excited by this beer.  It was only a four gallon batch and so it produced a very limited number of bottles, making it kind of a reserves brew.  The flavor was rich, sweet, and very definitely Belgian.  The beer possesses a nice kick reaching about 9.5 abv after bottle conditioning.   It should be ready for drinking in about another week and a half or so.  I’ll let you know how it tastes then.

Update (Tuesday April 21st):  Here is a picture from the festival that Eliza took.  I’m rather fond of it.

Me, Brian, and Nicole at the Hickory Hops Festival

Yours truly hanging out with Brian (Mr. Untamed Beer) and Nicole

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~ by Nathaniel on April 19, 2010.

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